The modern research university has an important role to play as an engine of innovation supporting regional, national, and global economies and providing solutions to challenges including sustainable utilization of natural resources with minimal tradeoff to the environment. Recent congressional legislation in the Peru (Law 30220) has challenged their public universities to undertake fundamental transformations in how they engage students, faculty, and regional stakeholders while also developing tools and incentives to become research universities with international recognition. Such fundamental transformations require structural and operational modifications to the universities their administrations; they also necessitate significant financial resources and development is helped by using working models for partnerships with established research universities that can help build capacity and capabilities. Like many public universities in Peru, the Universidad Nacional de San Agustín (UNSA) in Arequipa is developing new international partnerships and incorporating solutions-oriented research into the fabric of education to build long-term research capacity with its faculty and through infrastructure. UNSA, in particular, is looking to be a regional research leader in the areas of Food-Energy-Water systematics. We here discuss the model and efforts of the Arequipa Nexus Institute for Food, Energy, Water, and the Environment, a new bilateral collaboration between UNSA, Peru and Purdue University, Indiana, USA involving over 130 faculty across both universities. This program’s leaders seek to identify regional interdependencies among food, water, and energy systems; outline paths of competition for natural resources among local industries such agriculture and ore mining; and explore tradeoffs between land use and the environment.
- Timothy Filley, Ph.D., Professor, Director of Purdue's Center for the Environment, Purdue University